"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Saturday 31 March 2012

Insult To Injury

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Point Of Zero Tolerance...or No Return":

11:06 AM
The ACC is not ' doing ' anything. The ACC does not ' do ' anything. It uses taxpayer dollars to hire people to run the place on their terms. They call the shots - Aurora pays. The Board DOES NOTHING in return for being subsidized with the free use of Aurora's building and Aurora's funding. The ACC produces nothing for the town revenue and certainly nothing in the way of good will. They are merely tenants, non-productive tenants, too lazy or unable to support their chosen lifestyle.

The above is a comment from an angry taxpayer. It cannot be refuted. No valid argument presents.

The board holds secret meetings and keeps no records.

The Mayor recently informed Council, he had been attending board meetings for almost a year. On condition he keep secret all that he heard.

The Mayor consulted the town solicitor before accepting the invitation.

He was advised against.

He did anyway.

And persists he would do so again.

The most recent council controversy was over a resolution presented, in accordance with all the rules, which was changed not amended,in contravention of all the rules.

Staff were directed to meet with the board to set up terms of reference for "negotiations" for a new agreement to replace the current abomination.

In three weeks, five meetings were held. The Mayor attended all.

The question needs to be answered. Who did the Mayor represent in the deliberations? The Town or the Board?

The query is valid. It arises from his previous attendance at board meetings and agreement to maintain secrecy: in effect,to withhold information from Councilof which he is a member.

Whose man is he? The Town's or the Board's.

The Mayor is compromised.

No doubt it was the substance of the advice given by the solicitor not to attend the meetings.

Council has now agreed to terms of reference for "negotiations"

The Mayor, who can no longer be seen to be impartial, has been given authority to appoint two councillors to negotiate and a different pair to the board.

What sense can we make of this arrangement?What confidence can we have?

The time schedule for meetings is almost a year.

Meanwhile money will continue to flow unchecked from the town treasury.

The pool of councillors to represent the town on the "negotiating" team is also compromised.

Councillor Gaertner and Ballard and Gallo are on record as content with the current agreement.

Although Councillor Gallo is in support of negotiating a new agreement.

Councillors Abel and Pirri proposed the termination clause.

Although, Councillor Abel has full confidence in the proposed plan.

Councillors Abel and Pirri fulminate great praise and sopport for the work of the board.

Councillor Thompson and Humphreys were not in favour of the termination clause but are now in favour of negotiating a new agreement without the "threat" of terminating the old one.

In principle,I favour no agreement detrimental to the interest of the people who pay taxes in the town.I do not favour delegating authority to a group who have demonstrated nothing but contempt for the authority of he people.

So....the Mayor who has compromised himself...cannot be seen to be impartial... will select two councillors, neither of whom can be seen to be impartial... to participate in "negotiations" unlike any negotiations ever seen, which are required to have a pre-determined outcome and an artificial time schedule.

To cap the illusion of accomplishment,council is assured of the need for secrecy in all things. Only two people can be in on the deal. And of course staff.

Other elected representatives are to be excluded entirely.

The Mayor and his selected candidates alone will know what's going on and will be required not to divulge any information to colleagues who have equal authority.

Progress reports will be made.

It took five meetings to create the above plan.It is unclear whose interests are represented.

On Tuesday, it was accepted by the majority of council.

The Sunshine Law recently revealed names of all public servants in Ontario whose annual remuneration exceeds $100.000. I never read the list. It's better for my equilibrium. But people do talk.

In Aurora, we have an Executive Leadership Team to manage the town's affairs. Collective cost to taxpayers exceeds $1.2 millionin salaries alone.

The current agreement with the Culture Centre Board must be laid at the door of the administration.

The same must be said for the plan put forward on Tuesday.

I do not believe the town is well-served.

Friday 30 March 2012

Things Are Tough All Over

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Point Of Zero Tolerance...or No Return":

Speaking of 'culling': Cllr Buck is being very selective with the comments she chooses to publish.


A flurry of non-relevant e-mails always result when a post scores on the mark.

It's my blog. I decide which comments merit publication.

If you don't like it...you must lump it.

You can't complain to the senior editor. Or the publisher.

I am both.

You can't withdraw your advertising business because I don't have it.

If you are a hockey coach you can't make my son's life miserable because of something his mother said that you don't like.

If you are a teacher, you can't embarrass my daughter because of a position her mother has taken.

You can't enlist your class of ten year olds to write insulting and abusive letters to the Town's Mayor to suit your purpose.

You can privately thank your deity that I only have one vote on council, if that's the kind of thing you include in your prayers.

It's all I ever had or anyone else has either, so your deity can't do much about that even if he was so inclined.

But it's not my vote you're worried about,is it?

It's the people who "follow" my blog who really concern you.

The people who watch council on television and form their own conclusions.

Because whatever happens within the term, they are the ones, when their turn comes, who will make the decision about whether or not they have been well-served.

Things are not the way they used to be. They are never going to be that way again.

Controversial decisions will not be forgotten by the time of the election. They will be as fresh as the day they were made.

Intervening time will prove how many have less to recommend them two years hence than at the time they are being made.

Aurora's politics will never be the same as long as the blog shall live. But they never did fit the popular mis-conception and that's the real reason for the blog.

All of the people could never be fooled all of the time.

But now it's even harder to fool some of them, some of the time.

Thursday 29 March 2012

No New Agreement

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Point Of Zero Tolerance...or No Return":

I guess I am too naive or stupid, but after witnessing Tuesday nights meeting, I thought the Mayor was on track with getting the job done. Mr Able supported his efforts and I heard mostly support for Mayor and the work done so far. The only councillors up in arms over this were yourself, Councillor Gaertner and Councillor Ballard. I thought Mayor Dawe was working with the concerns that Mr. Mar outlined. I know you would like to see an entirely new agreement, but maybe that's the next step after the current one is fixed to our legal departments approval. I believe Council IS moving forward and in a positive direction.


I have no interest in seeing a new agreement.

 I accepted the professional advice provided, that an arm's length board of governance charged with  being financially self-sufficient  within a given period of time, was the way to ensure Church Street School and the program would not be a burden on the taxpayers.

I was wrong.

I am not about to make the same mistake twice.

I am not up in arms.I have one vote on council. My responsibility to the taxpayers is to take a position based on my experience and knowledge, make sure they understand it, use whatever influence I have to persuade council and if that fails,sleep easy knowing I did my best.

Church Street School is like every other  town facility. It can and should be managed on the same principles  with user-pay fee schedules calculated to cover costs  of providing individual programs.

Duplication of programs is  not sensible.

Organisations like the  Society of York Region Artists shifting about to get free use of facilities and staff and a free venue to market their product should not be possible between town facilities.Any more than it is in any other municipality.

Now that we've paid for it, the grand piano would fit quite nicely in the council chamber. With a little re-design of the seating, piano and other concerts would enjoy better accommodation and a  far more pleasing and suitable ambiance in the town hall than the limited space available in  Church Street School.

All those musical aficionados ever had to do was rent the space and organise the events to enjoy what has apparently been missing in their lives.

The Council Chamber is never in use on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays. It is available to rent for suitable functions.

The culture vultures  didn't have to behave like thugs, steal the museum's home and shoulder the Historical  Society out of their rightful space.

Holding secret meetings without  records does nothing to generate public confidence or trust.

Thumbing their collective  nose at the authority of the town's council is not conducive to winning friends and influencing people.

Nothing Mayor Dawe or Councillor Abel has to say  persuades me the Culture Centre or any other board  should be given authority and resources to use in the community's interest.

A person would have to be soft in the head to imagine anything might change.

Knowledge Is Power

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Point Of Zero Tolerance...or No Return":

While I totally agree with you, Evelyn, I don't know what is blazes we can do about the situation. Reason has failed, the Mar Report was ignored and Dawe is determined to go his lonely way. Unless something illegal has transpired, Aurorans have no remedy. I believe all of those secretive meetings, and those which might happen now, could violate the Municipal Act.But I do not know that for a fact. The only 'fact' we seem to have is that Dawe ignored Mar's warning about attending those meetings. He may have ignored other legal advice in his quest but we cannot act without firm information.


You are doing something . You are making your position known.

There are those who believe  comments to my blog are noticed.
They may be right. But it is far more effective to directly notify your councillors where you stand on the issue.

At Tuesday's meeting, Mr. Mar. town solicitor was repeatedly asked to  give advice..

He said the situation was unique. It most certainly was. He was being asked to provide solicitor/client advice in a public meeting about the confidentiality of non-negotiations of an incorrigible contract.

People who support the status quo  of the board and the culture centre believe  they have won. They have not.

The contract cannot be allowed to stand. It is  a public  scandal and nothing can alter the fact..

All of Council are  aware. The majority support action .

They are  conscious  taxpayers  are aware.

God Help Them ,they believe  a process  has been presented that will solve  the problem.

A series of meetings that run out the clock will assure  voters they did everything they could and in the end ,when the term of the contract is over, it will  replaced.

Nobody will notice how much time and how much  more public resources have been flushed away for a purpose neither intended nor endorsed by the community.

Now you know council's intent, they need to know your position.

Knowledge is power.

The Mayor is not alone. Council  has nine members. A majority voted for  the plan.

A high-powered and expensive administration put the plan forward.

Negotiating with a group that brings nothing to the table ,with the required outcome previously announced, is utterly ridiculous.

Declaring the need for confidentiality, as if " bargaining in good faith"   is sufficiently perverse as to be ludicrous.

At stake is an agreement so badly written and so much against the public interest as to  border on corrupt.

It is a gross insult to common sense.

The community is ill- served  

Sadly, it is not  a solitary instance. 

It's only in  their numbers, council  allow themselves to be persuaded that people will be fooled. They have been.

If it  wasn't so extravagant, it would be comical.

In politics, when a name becomes a household joke, the goose is pretty well cooked.

If nothing happens to change it  and the  fiasco is allowed to continue as scheduled , results cannot be good.

But  here's the thing. This is politics. Something is always likely to happen. The problem might resolve itself.

The Point Of Zero Tolerance...or No Return

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Collosal Effrontery":

I do not want to rain on an already soggy parade, but did anyone hear the word ' museum ' mentioned?


The word has been conspicuous in its absence from several reports
presented to Council recently..  The last report referred to " whoever that agent might be" instead of simply,"a museum curator".

It's   odd how the meaning of words has taken on  new significance in common currency,with some seeming to be avoided at all costs.

My own straightforward style of expression is interpreted as "inflammatory". Ever ready to burn the barn down.

 At all costs, we must not  upset the sensitivities of the artistic, high-minded cultural element of our society with crude plain talk..

Speaking the obvious must be avoided at all costs. Lest it send  them fluttering to the furthest branches never to come back to the table for negotiations.

While total unsustainability of the current  agreement is noted,  at the same time, we must  prostrate ourselves like base sinners before the  stupendous work of the high-minded  professionals in bringing us up by our bootstraps to the altar of culture.

Like we wouldn't know art from  the effect of proverbial organic matter having hit the fan. Or the magic of theatre. Or the  uplifting quality of music from the profane business of making ends meet  on a limited budget.

One of the more interesting  aspects of being up close and personal in politics is the opportunity  to watch those who  want only to be loved ,twist themselves into pretzels  to express contradictry positions in order to please all of the people all of the time while convincing themselves of the nobility of the cause.of frantically trying to cover every inch of their own arses..

They little understand how transparent it is to people watching at home with nothing to distract them from each tiny verbal nuance or  twist of body language and  glaring contradiction.

Persomal skills of persuasion  and self-deception are as  vastly overvalued as  the community's  ability to recognise  fear of losing a single vote is  under-estimated.

Watching another human assume the role of slithering invertebrate is uncomfortable at best and  positively degrading at least.

It the common misconception about  what politics are about. 

It's the point at which adults are separated from juveniles.

Wednesday 28 March 2012

Collosal Effrontery

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Who Will Buy ?":

Very discouraged by last night's meeting.

I thought that Mayor Dawe may have had his worst night yet. His comment about your Grandson's team replacing the leafs was NOT funny, but rather it was patronizing, demeaning and dismissive. I am sure he would say that he did not intend it to be so, but it was. His quip about stopping beating his wife was pathetic - "oh poor me, everyone's picking on me, how can I defend myself against these accusations". The guy is out of his depth.

I fail to see what leverage council thinks that the board has in these negotiations. In fact, I don't understand how they have a position from which to "negotiate" at all? It is OUR building! We don't NEED them. And that is NOT an indictment against Arts programming. IF we chose to allow them to manage the place, it should be ENTIRELY on our terms.

This whole thing is getting surreal. Completely disappointed by Abel, Thomson and Humfryes last night. At least Ballard is consistent.


Councillor Ballard's comments were to the point. They didn't go far enough.

The entire concept of "negotiations"  between the town and the board  borders on the ridiculous.

Council has made it clear, if  the talks do not achieve the town's objectives, the agreement will be terminated. Promptly.

Council has the authority and the responsibility.

How can there be negotiations  in these circumstances'

The board has no footing..They do not own the building, They pay no rent. They have no investment to speak of..

The agreement is not sustainable. It does not reflect the interest of the town in any way. It cannot be allowed to stand.

Councillor Ballard, Gaertner and Gallo have indicated support for the current agreement.

A regular progress report  is to be submitted to Council.  The process  is  expected  to take a year.

Each time progress is reported, coercion will be asserted. And rightfully so. 

The entire exercise can be nothing  but  a time-consuming farce with everyone involved losing credibility in the process.

Last night's endless circuitous debate on the first report presented is but a foreword of what is to come. 

In defence of the direction taken and accomplishment achieved,  the Mayor stakes the high ground . There is a claim to professional

A media release this morning by the Chairman of the Board  is in accord with high level progress achieved.

I think in its entirety, its just colossal effrontery .

I am further assured that's how it will be seen by the common sense masses, whose feet rest securely on the ground. .

Tuesday 27 March 2012

The Meaning Of It All.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Foreign Travel On The Public's Dime":

Sweden is a very socialist country as well. People in this country are not prepared to spend more taxes - especially the way our existing taxes are spent!

My impression of Sweden was not that they were a socialist society.
so much as they  have a high sense of how to make best use of  resources, public and private.

They still have a monarchy.

In Sweden, homes are not luxurious. They are bright, attractive, comfortable and above all else practical.They are not excessive in any sense.

Meals are not over-indulgent. They are enough. They are enjoyable.
There is little chance of over-eating.

Swedes like to travel. They make choices in their lives. They don't expect to have it all.They choose  priorities.

We met a teacher named Margaret who  was  researching the history of Swedish emigration and creating a museum.

Sweden is  long, narrow and small. People had to leave because  not enough food could be produced to feed everyone.

When they left, the ceremony was akin to a funeral complete with floral wreaths around the neck of the emigre.

There was a wooden chest decorated with symbols  packed  with items  chosen for the new life. .

It was not expected they would ever see their families again.

I found much in Sweden that was familiar .It confirmed my belief that people are shaped by their environment.

Hardship and struggle  creates strength and empathy.The Vikings were  the first explorers.

A severe broody climate creates a serious outlook on life.

Words used  generally mean what they say. 

Wit and sly humour are  born of  everyman's  need for laughter to brighten the days.

Weeks of  blue skies, warm sunshine, balmy breezes and all the good things that derive, are not theirs to enjoy.

They find  purpose in their lives.

It may be a political philosophy springs from  experience of life.

That would make sense, wouldn't it?

It would also be logical to conclude, if everyone's  experience was the same, political philosophy might not vary a great deal.

Who Will Buy ?

We used to have an Arena Management Board. A Town Planning BOard. A Recreation Commission.

The Library Board was made up of trustees appointed by the public and separate school Boards of Education.

There was always friction between Council and the various boards. The town had to collect taxes to fund the operations. They had no say in decisions they made but they had to answer for them anyway.

When the Region was created in 1971,except for the Library Board, most boards and commissions were wiped out.

Local Boards of Education had been amalgamated two years before.

It took a few more years for trustees to the library board to be wholly appointed by Council and the budget approved by Council.

The government gave municipalities the option of continuing to appoint arena management boards. We didn't.

A town Leisure Services department has been managing facilities ever since and facilities have grown in number.

Until Church Street school renovations were complete, the town never created another board.

We have had it now long enough to re-discover why a separate board managing a town facility does not serve the community's interest.

So why are so many people content to re-write an agreement which has since its inception,been the source of so many problems?

Why, when a town department, under the authority of Council,has been doing a competent job of meeting community needs for so many years,is the model no longer the norm?

I know why it was set up like that in the last term.

The question is, why does this council, two thirds a replacement for the last,continue to support a concept that has proven to be a disaster from every aspect?

Maybe to-night we will discover the truth of the matter.

Monday 26 March 2012

Sleight Of Hand

I don't gamble. I 'm afraid if I won anything substantial, I might get hooked.

I don't judge people who gamble. I listen to them tell  how much they won and note they don't tell how much it cost .. Or how long it took, sitting anxiously at a table.

It seems logical to me,  if people  win as much as they claim,  casinos would not be lucrative  and the government wouldn't be pulling in millions of dollars  they don't have to account for.

The high deficit the government has itself created, is the reason  given by the Minister of Finance for a new casino in Toronto.

Setting  aside a percentage to help people who become addicted and gamble away the family food budget is not  really comforting. Who takes care of the misery in a family whose parent  has a gambling addiction.  What about the kids.

This government boasted about labour peace in the last election.

We subsequently read  doctors' salaries had doubled during that time. Teachers seemed pretty content at the same time.

Today we see a headline that social assistance will be frozen for the next year.

We  also see the cost of living has increased more than 2%

It  means the value of social assistance is that much less.

People on the public payroll, earning in excess of $100,000, with 3% increases,  will see more than enough increases to cover the cost of living. 

It's a good thing this government doesn't claim to be for social justice.

They would be liars.

Opening a new casino to earn money from gambling to pay for this government excessive spending, strikes me as  contributing very little to a society's morals.

Is that the business of government?

Foreign Travel On The Public's Dime

Christopher Watts has a post this morning on the significant foreign travels and expenditures of public school board staff and trustees.

The separate school board has set up a school in Italy. I'm hazy on the details. It's a few years since I read about it.

The real prize for foreign travel should probably go to York Region.

They've been doing it since the Region was created. Millions will have been spent by now. Just last month, the Economic Development Committee heard about regional staff being in Las Vegas to entice business to locate in York Region.

I recall a tour of Europe to determine what they do with garbage over there.That would be in the early eighties.

Nothing much came of it. I would be willing to bet, there isn't a country in Europe sending garbage over their border because the population don't want to deal with their own garbage.

I went to Atlanta once, to a solid waste management conference. We saw videos at the conference. The conclusion there was after everything had been contemplated or tried, properly handled land fill was still the best option.

We still have landfill. But not where we are. We spend millions to ship it to other people's backyard.

A fleet of trucks trundle down the Queen Elizabeth Highway to Michigan every day dripping effluent all the way.

The Honorable Bob Rae, once NDP Premier of Ontario, was the only Premier ever, to identify, after a thorough study of York Region, a suitable site in East Gwillimbury. It would have been separated by miles from the nearest inhabitants.

He was the Premier who suggested public servants take days off without pay to save their jobs in the economic crisis he inherited from the days of the David Peterson, Ontario's Liberal government.

Now...we all know,the price Bob Rae paid for dealing with critical issues. He is still paying it. Harpers Party are plying us with paid advertising of a partial and therefore distorted history every day.

We also know where the blow that felled him came from.

That was the mastermind of Sid Ryan, President of the Canadian Umion of Public Servants. They still remember with bitterness the audacity of a Premier trying to save jobs by asking everyone to share a little of the pain.

I went to Sweden once. Paid my own way. Our hosts were teachers and schools. Swedish people have a different attitude towards their government.

While we were there, teachers had recently accepted a drop in pay to assist the government in getting through an economic crisis.

We were on a bus to a place of interest when the teacher told us about it in very simple terms.

Swedish teachers consider themselves privileged to be doing what they do. They view teaching the nation's children and the future of the nation in the same terms.

Schools are beautiful. They have competitive swimming pools.fine cafeterias serving real food.

On the day ofarrival, we were received in a house where students cooked and served a fine meal. Table accoutrements were fashioned in classrooms. Mats were woven on massive looms. Designs were traditional Scandinavian. Th is part of the school was a heritage building.

A high bright room held huge tables where male and female students were cutting fabric and learning the art of designing.

We were with the St Andrew's College band. They were playing and competing with counterparts from Swedish public schools.

From what I observed on that trip, which I paid for myself, Swedes do not identify a separation from themselves and government.They are the government.

It was a memorable trip.

Sunday 25 March 2012

The Play's The Thing

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "What We Saw":

This reads like the review of a Broadway play.

Jack Layton's huge success in the last election was a combination of three things: his personal message, his personality, and his brave fight; the final implosion of the Bloc Quebecois that was never going to be able to do anything on the national stage and hence its supporters in Quebec would see no return for their investment; the Liberal leader was a disgrace as a politician, which he never was and never could be - he should have stuck with academe.

The NDP can do nothing but lose seats in coming elections. Hopefully Harper's party will do likewise. The Liberal party is lost at sea in a great fog and it will take them years to reassemble.

So where does that leave us?

In between an arrogant majority, a socialist party that will have no choice but to become so centrist that it will be unrecognizable from its roots, and a party that will drift for years.

This is not a happy scenario.


Au contraire: this scenario has been ripe for change
these many years.

Yesterday,it happened.

My poster makes the same mistake so many do.

They dismiss the most important factor; the will of the people. Those who vote and those who don't.

Tom Mulcair does not make that mistake.

Yesterday,he said; "young people are involved, All over Canada and in other parts of the world, young Canadians are working and showing they care. They are just not involved in their country's politics"

So how hard can it be to inspire the young? To attract the best and the brightest wherever they can be found?

How long will it be before history becomes a requisite subject once again in the high school curriculum?

And public service a task worth undertaking?

We shall see.

What We Saw

It took four ballots in a  remarkable, nationwide exercise for  Thomas Mulcair to have a decisive win.

It ended the way it began.The candidate stuck to the message. He never veered  Never allowed himself to be distracted. Even in victory.

In so doing, he compelled others to do the same. He set the tone.

Was the convention dull? Without  drama. Or betrayal. Was nothingrevealed of the seamy underbelly of politics?

Not  by Thomas  Mulcair.

Ed Broadbent's  role in the last desperate attempt to keep control in the hands of organised labour, in central Canada will tarnish his legacy.

Brian Topp's name will be a footnote.

Peggy Nash,was betrayed by the party of love. She maintained her dignity. But she has tasted bitter fruit. Nothing will ever be the same.

Brian Topp was always an unlikely candidate. He delivered his speech  like a public speaking  contestant. Every glance,  side-tilt of his head and modest shrug revealed  a self-deprecating personality.

Why would anyone believe the idea of campaigning for leadership after a lifetime of being a back room  organiser was his idea? He had never even contested a seat let alone been a winner.

If John Tory couldn't do it, he certainly couldn't. And John Tory certainly didn't.

Peggy Nash, a strong member of the caucus,a winner in her own right, in a strong  Tory  riding , was betrayed. By the party of love. That holds itself out to be the great equaliser

But none of it was  Mulcair's doing. He stayed focused.

He ran a positive campaign. He wrested control. Time and  circumstances were right .   The triumph was not a fluke.

Neither did it have to take so long. 

Everybody likes a winner. He will mould nicely into the role.

Those of us who love good drama. all the more so because it is real, may look forward to the enactment.

What we saw yesterday was finesse.

The plodding,heavy-footed domination and bullying in the Harper party will suffer severely in contrast.

The Liberal role, if it has one, is not yet defined.

Saturday 24 March 2012

No Decision Yet

The machines are broken. The results are not  in. The media, assembled to comment on results, are furiously trying to fill emptiness with wisdom.

Delegates  are still mindlessly cheering for their candidates.

Peggy Nash. a strong  candidate with seniority in the party. more than Brian Topp,  had a devastatingly disappointing vote in the first ballot.

Why was that?

Her afternoon  presentattion was strong in endorsementsbut didn;t leave enough time to make an impression nation-wide.

It's another  argument  against  having too many candidates in the final event.

Thomas Mulcair's speech was rushed. It was full of substance, had everything  that  needed to be said but  not have enough time to let his words sink in.

After a year-kong campaign and cnsidering the winner will be in serious running for the office of Prime Minister, that was planning gang aft agley.

Giving all  members an opportunity to vote is without a doubt a dramatic and trend-setting event. Much  is to  be learned from the exercise. It must be the way of the future.  A new opportunity for democracy to come alive.

Forty-thousand delegates in attendance at  the convention is itself a huge sign of strength and renewal for this political Party.

Liberals and Conservatives and Greens  would be foolish to deny the reality. 

If Thomas Mulcair wins the vote, after Ed Broadbent's  open and determined opposition, it's another  sign ,organised labour has finally lost its hold.

It would be  historic.  Organised  labour has, at one and the same time, kept the NDP stubbornly alive, at the same time it has prevented it from growing.

Peggy Nash's  showing  may be another sign unions are losing  influence.
If that's what's  happening, a  party to represent ordinary Canadian families will have a better chance of finding  its place

Round about now the delegates must be just wishing it was over and worrying about hotel check out time.

Friday 23 March 2012

We Will See What We Will See.

I wrote two posts this morning. Deleted both. I do that sometimes.

More often than not, I  start a post  intending a particular emphasis and  half way through I find it has taken off in its own  direction

The post writes itself.

But the two this morning were not like that. They were in response to different comments. As I wrote I decided I really didn't want to respond to either.

The  comments just didn't warrant response.

I watched the NDP leadership convention this afternoon. I used to watch  leadership conventions of all parties.

I used to attend nomination meetings as well.

Before they became  overcrowded with candidates. People who had no possible chance of winning but wanted to be in the limelight anyway.

If a leadership convention is about getting public attention for  what a party stands for. having half a dozen nondescript candidates on the ballot has an opposite impact. .

The NDP did that this afternoon.

Three serious candidates.  Six in  the race.

Leaders are not hard to pick out from the crowd. 

Time needed for the key candidates to make an impression on the Canadian electorate was not enough.

Too much time  was sucked up by the also rans.

Brian Topp  was  a back room organiser and he is still.  He did not emerged  from a chrysallis. They never do. He offers nothing new.

Peggy Nash has  impressive backers and a strong organisation..Both important factors within the party. They will not convert  a moribund organisation into the living, breathing evolving character a political party needs to be. .

Thomas Mulcair clearly recognises the party's future entirely depends on  broadening its view of what people want  from their government. It's what the old guard fear about him.

Until the last election, I thought the time was already past for the NDP . The  Liberals  had  lost their hold in Quebec. They did it to themselves.

The Bloc Quebecois collapsed.

The NDP  were in the right place at the right time with the right leader.

Jack Layton seized the moment. He recommended a former Bloc Quebcois as interim leader.  Traditionally an interim leader does not run for leader.

Thomas Mulcair had to be key.

Peggy Nash  is strong and confident.  Missed  the  opportunity to introduce herself to voters outside the party but an obvious force to
be recognised.  She will not grow the party beyond its present  alliances.

If the vacuum left by the Liberals is to be filled. If Stephen Harper is to be challenged. The NDP need to build on their strengths and grow
beyond .

They need to capture disaffected Liberals and independent voters.

Thomas Mulcair is the  leader who can do that.

But we shall see.

Thursday 22 March 2012

The Recipe Has Been Lost

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Damn Right It Matters":

Thank you for the Tout Sheet on the NDP. It helps to know which horses can run in the mud and where they have raced in the past. Sometimes a new bettor can actually get it right from the stats. One query though. Where does Sid Ryan fit into the picture?

I wouldn't all the post a tout sheet. I haven;t paid close attention the the NDP for years.

I came to the conclusion, they weren't really serious about being a political party.

One after another their leaders were shafted by whoever happened to be the president of the UAW.

When Ed Broadbent was  in  the 89 federal campaign, he was most popular of the three leaders. He brought the party to the most number of seats they had had.  But he resigned the leadership soon after.

He had  an edge of bitterness  at that point. The reason wasn't obvious. I figure he must have received  the same treatment as  the other leaders. it just wasn't so obvious.

The Honorable Member   was from Oshawa. His father was  a UAW member.

Jack Layton's success in bringing the NDP to opposition status was all the more extraordinary. They had continued in Parliament with the few strong union ridings  and candidates.

 I figured his triumph  had more to do with Jack Layton than it had to do with his party.

It helped that the  Parti  Quebecois was tired of being a non-entity in the Parliament of Canada and that the Liberals were in dis-array.

I think  Mr. Broadbent is concerned that if Thomas  Mulcair  takes the leadership , power will shift from Ontario.

Sid Ryan has not been heard of much lately. He brought Bob Rae down when the NDP got a chance to form the government in Ontario.

The most conclusive example of how unions will not allow the NDP to be a real political party.

I do not offer my opinion  as anything more  than  casual observation. I've made no study. Noticed nothing more than anybody else from the headlines

The NDP can make horses' asses of themselves as well as any other political party.

The rest  lost  the recipe. The NDP never thought they needed one. Or they just didn't care

If they elect Tom Mulcair, they  might have a chance to become a political party in spite of themselves.

Damn Right It Matters

I was born in a town whose beginnings were literally lost in the mists of antiquity.

It is situated on either side of a river where it flows into the sea. On one side is Fullarton on the other Irvine. It's in the Parish of Dundonald,in the Diocese of Galloway. The postal address is Ayrshire,Scotland

For a while, it was called Strathclyde after the region was created. At some point, they abandoned that and went back to their historical roots.

Irvine is a Royal Burgh.I think it was James,father of Mary Queen of Scots who gave it that distinction.It meant the children of the burgers could receive and education ad the King wouldn't have to come by every year tothe assize and make the decisions.

The town was there before the Romans and Christianity.
The harbour was it's reason for being.

The river has a weir. I've never been able to discover when it was built. A weir eliminates the effect of the tide. Within the town, the river is contained between two walls. The water level is maintained by the weir.

At intervals the weir would be opened and water allowed to flow freely out to the sea and the river would resume it's natural edge.

The purpose,I think, was to cleanse the river.There was salmon fishing in the river.

Before garbage was collected, refuse was dumped into the river.

The river came fast flowing down from the hills and in heavy rain, would swirl and whirl into currents and eddies and whirl pools in the torrent at full spate.

All that was undesirable would be carried out to the sea.

It was always a good thing when the weir were closed, water level restored and bottom edges covered again.

I lived in Irvine until I was eighteen.I was born in a house in Friar's Croft, a street that ended at the river. There had been a friary in that location in early Christianity.

Everywhere I went; to school,to church,to the swings, to shops, to the shore, to my grannie's house.I walked by and across the river.

I never thought much about it. It was always there.Like the sun and the sky.

The town was full of history. But we didn't learn it in school. We learned what was in the text books. No connection was ever made by our teachers to the place we lived.

What a difference it would have made to the subject to know that our place was a regular haunt of Robert the Bruce and his ilk. The teachers probably hadn't learned about that either.

There was so much to know that was deliberately kept hidden and much of what wasn't, was twisted and distorted.

I had to discover that as an adult.

The reason had to be political.

I love the place I was born.It has never left me. It's part of who I am.

I've lived in Aurora almost three times as long. I raised my children here. My grandchildren know it too.
Great-grandchildren as well.

There's no river here. No outlet to the sea. History that we know, is not much more than 160 years.

Young enough to be recorded in accurate detail with a building, with locations mapped and actual artifacts to keep it alive for the children who know this as their birthplace. Their heritage.

And provide them with roots and the strength that comes from roots to know who they are.

Aurora is not a bedroom community.

It is a town in its own rights.

A community with pride in its heritage.

It took people who got here yesterday to decide our history didn't matter.

We will not stand for that.

Who The Devil Was That ?

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Letter To Th Editor re Patron Of The Arts":

"By the way,until I asked I had no idea the extent of town generosity."

It's nice to see that there is precedent then for the Town to provide what they do. Maybe those that think art is a MorMac thing might get off their high-horses and realize that this not new.


Thank you for the prompt and positive response.

Support for the artist community in Aurora is not new.

We have had our own little theatre for longer than the artists association.

We have had an Art and Culture grant foundation for almost as long.

The town doesn't take credit for the community of artists in our midst but we have fostered and encouraged their initiative for as long as they have made their presence felt.

Writers ,photographers, theatre, all manner and styles of art have been encouraged by the town and space has been provided.

The duplication at Church Street School makes no sense. The Town's Leisure Services department and Library are more than willing to co-operate with staff at the centre to ensure duplication doesn't happen.

This week we learned remains of the budget for furnishings and fixtures for the museum was turned over to the Church Street school, when the building renovations were completed.

Part of that budget was earmarked for glass display cases for to complete the museum.

Still, there is no museum.

The chairman informed council, in a recent public meeting, the board did not make the decision to exclude the museum from the building.

He said "The Strategic Plan did it"

It was like saying; the devil made us do it.

Now the question is? which devil was that?

The one with red eyes, horns,a tail,and a three- pronged prod.

Or the one we know better than the one we don't.

Letter To Th Editor re Patron Of The Arts

In response to Nancy Newman's paean of praise for the Aurora Culture Centre in last week's Auroran, allow me to note the following:

The Aurora Art Show and Sale has been fostered and nurtured by the Town Of Aurora for fifty years.

It was started by two young artist mothers,Mabel Pearson and Cathan Schonicker, residents of Jasper Drive and Sunray Place respectively.

Pat Barber of Holman Crescent and Dorothy Clark Mc Clure became part of the organiisation.

Pine Tree Potters received the same encouragement and support and space that allowed them to flourishfrom Ernie Batson ,our community centre manager and recreation director, fifty years ago.

It quickly became a Juried Art Show by the level of excellence achieved by Aurora's artist community.The auditorium in the new community centre was the original venue.

When our new town hall was built, a Skylight Gallery was included in the design as a home for this proud aspect of our community life.

The Aurora Art Show has been held in May in our Town Hall every year since. A budget is dedicated to the event by council each year In 2011 a budget of $6,580 was allocated.

The funds were dedicated primarily to extensive marketing and a promotion campaign.

SOYRA provide volunteers for the event. Assisting staff with set-up, take down and reception duties during the show.

In 2011, $5,100 was spent from the budget.

A registration fee of $22. was charged each artist and 20% commission on all sales during the show and sale. Last year's revenue from the show was $4,500. leaving a deficit of $600. Traditionally the show breaks even

The town provides a grant of $1.000. each year to Soyra to hang art on the walls of the second floor reception area of the Town Hall.

For decades , the town has provided free use of space in the old library building every Tuesday from 6.30 to 10.30 p.m. For art classes and meetings.

For fifty years the town has been a supportive partner with the art community in Aurora and since it became the Society of Artists of York Region.

It ill-behooves Nancy Newman and others to deny and denigrate support received from the town by comparing free facilities, staff and sales opportunities provided at the Culture Centre. They are not free. They are provided at taxpayers' expense.

By the way,until I asked I had no idea the extent of town generosity.

Wednesday 21 March 2012

If The Vote Goes As It Should

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "We Stand Our Ground":

Maybe off topic...maybe not.
Danforth has remained solidly NDP, a credit to JACK Layton who
represented the taxpayers and the ' little guys'


The next test will be Saturday's leadership vote.

When you stand back from something , a picture presents with awesome clarity.

A number of factors influenced the last federal vote. Liberals  were in disarray and had been since Jean Chretien sabotaged Paul Martin.

The Quebecois  came unglued. They were always a left leaning party. Tey had stayed together longer than they should.

Jack Layton was; Quebecois in birth and upbringing.

He was there to scoop up the pieces that brought the NDP to opposition status with more seats than ever before.  No-one else could have done it. We will never know the price he paid.

Now we will see if it was worth it.

Political parties survive with discipline exercised from the top and within.

It's a problem when the country is governed by party discipline and not by pragmatic response to obvious problems.

We have that problem with Stephen Harper. He is not pragmatic H is not a politician. He is dogmatic and his government will collapse under his weight.There will be no loyalty.

The Liberals are still in disarray.

The decision this weekend will determine whether the NDP will build upon their opportunity .

If they listen to Ed Broadbent and vote for Brian Topp, party organiser, who exercises NDP party discipline, they will not.

If they value Jack Layton's legacy, they will vote for Thomas Mulcair ,keep the essential hold in Quebec and build upon it.

Mulcair has an impressive background. Government and Cabinet experience. He does not have a lean and hungry look.

He surely understands Quebec

Canadian politics could come to life again. Good men and women would no longer be treading water waiting for the doldrums to pass.

Passion and principle will rule the day.

Ah...if only the vote goes the way it should.

Fast And Furious Response

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Welcome Is Withdrawn.":


I wrote this response and I take offense to your assumptions. I will remain anonymous but I can assure you of the following.

I am not staff at Church Street School. I am not staff at any Aurora-owned facility. I am not staff at any municipal facility. In fact, I work in a multi-national company that is traded on multiple stock markets and my office is in Peel Region.

I am however a tax payer in Aurora. I am engaging a member of council in a political dispute because as a member of council, you are obligated to hear all residents' concerns.

You clearly do not know how inappropriate it is for you to assume who someone is. It shows how out of touch with reality you are now. It shows how far the pendulum has swung in this bloody mess.

You only speak for a vocal minority that are still bitter that Phyllis Morris ran this Town for 4 years. I was not a supporter of her but I understand what has happened. Since the beginning of this term it has been your mandate and the sheep that follow you to rid the Town of everything she did.

You are long enough to read the mood of the community but I think that you need new glasses because you are not reading it for the ENTIRE community, just the wackos that follow this blog.


Your fast and furious response does nothing to change my  perspective on this issue.

Whatever minority I speak for in this community. it is  larger  than yours.

So put that in your pipe and smoke your  brains out.

You clearly need something to chill..

The Welcome Is Withdrawn.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Morning News":

"In some respects, a comparison between the Ornge scandal and the "imbroglio" we have with the Church Street School building. can be made."

In some respects not.... Please don't try to make this tempest in a teapot with the ACC more than what it is... The current council trying to reverse a deal by the previous council.

The Ornge "scandal" (to use a term The Star likes to use) is a significant province-wide issue that has potential impact with residents' health and well-being. There is no such possibility here unless a painting falls off the wall.


In yet another similarity,  it is a political issue. 

You do not disclose your identity but you do reveal your place when you say ;

"There is no such possibility here unless a painting falls off the wall"

It's obvious  you are  staff  at Church Street School.

You are engaging a member of council in a political dispute.

You clearly have no idea how inappropriate that is.

Apparently, there is  no one on your  board  who understands the  disrespect  implied for the people who fund  your employment
or you would have been instructed not to do that.

It is yet another egregious  aspect of this matter which  offends me
greatly and I speak not for myself alone. 

Allow me to quote for you part of a comment received this morning
on my blog.

"It is extremely difficult to understand Council members' dereliction of their responsibilities and duties.

Aurora residents and taxpayers expect a Council that governs, one that oversees the expenditure of their money in a wise and accountable manner, one that understands the voters are supreme, not politicians, not staff, not a special interest group."

No small part of the community's  outrage  is the lack of respect demonstrated by this  board  and possibly  some staff members  in their determination to  deny  the community's authority in this matter.

Not the least of it, drawing people into the discussion who do not live in our community and  have nothing whatsoever to say about how we manage our town's business.

I am long enough an elected representative  to  be able to read the mood of this  community.

Your board has overstayed its welcome.

Flawed as it was ,the agreement between the board and the town was not a "deal".

A deal bespeaks two parties bringing  something to the arrangement.


Morning News

Aurora is listed in a Toronto Star article as one of 190 best places in Canada to live.

Toronto is 47th and it comes between Thunder Bay and Aurora.

I'm assuming its us. There's nothing else to identify. I know of two other towns named Aurora  but they 're in the U.S.

So I guess that makes us 48th. Doesn't feel  different.Our name will  probably still not appear on the weather map.Even though we have two exits off the 404.

Claiming to be the 48th best town in Canada to live doesn't sound like much without  accompaniment  but it's nice to know.
George Smitherman is in the news this morning. He was Minister of Health when air ambulance system,Ornge was set up. The scandal is back in the news again and he was  asked to comment. 

Some general stuff about how easy it is to" throw politicians under the bus" .That's true.  But it's  just another one of those pesky hazards of the occupation.

“What did the ministry do? Let’s call them what they are — the funder. What did sugar daddy do?” he said, adding bureaucrats should have “tightened up their cash flow to get their attention.”

Instead, ORNGE paid $600,000 in taxpayer-funded MBA degrees for seven ORNGE executives and bought a $15.6 million Pearson airport-area headquarters that was renovated for $478,000.

While some senior Liberals have privately tried to blame Smitherman for the ORNGE imbroglio, Matthews wasn’t going there on Tuesday.

“We had a very serious lapse of leadership at ORNGE. I’m not going to second-guess the minister who was there at the time it was set up,” she said.

“I do believe that it was set up with all the right intentions, but what we have learned is we did not give ourselves enough oversight capacity and we’re going to rectify that.”

Last fall, McCarter was stonewalled by ORNGE officials and Matthews had to step in and tell them to cooperate.
The Honorable Matthews is the current Minister of Health. Mr. Smitherman was  Minister of Health when the scandal erupted .
Because he is no longer a politician he is obviously less limited
in how he might respond. .

He no longer needs to fall upon his sword to save the government harmless.

In some respects, a  comparison between  the Ornge scandal  and the "imbroglio" we have  with the Church Street School building. can be made.

The town is "the sugar daddy that provided the funding"

The town "did not give itself enough oversight and we need to rectify  that."

There has been "stonewalling".

Funding should have been cut off to  get the attention desired.

The town is not the supplicant.

The role of "sugar daddy" doesn't fit  with most of us either.

And if it has anything to do with being 48th best town in Canada
to live, I would just as soon be 50th,

Tuesday 20 March 2012

We Stand Our Ground

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Committee Members.? Not Yet":

Cllr Buck, coming out of the 28 Feb. meeting, the parameters, terms of reference, etc. are what was proposed to be settled by the March 27th meeting. You seem to be suggesting that the new cultural services agreement was expected to be ready at this time. Not so, but progress towards that goal has certainly been made.

Your desire for immediately breaking the contract full stop ('keeping the corporation safe'?!) is not going to happen, you have to admit.


This is an interesting comment. It's source can only be guessed.

What was properly before Council on February 28th was a multiple clause resolution,  moved by Councillor Able, seconded by Councillor Pirri.

Several speakers, including the Mayor spoke in support of the motion  with seemingly  rational conviction. 

The Mayor in particular, spoke at  length of his personal efforts over the past year to bring the problem to a resolution.

 He spoke of  dedicated  attempts by  town staff to persuade the  Centre Board the agreement was unsatisfactory and needed to be changed.

The Mayor emphasized the full extent of the  efforts and concluded they had all been for naught. He gave every sign of support for the Abel/ Pirri resolution.

After debate concluded , nothing more was needed but to call the vote.  It  was not called.

Instead a  change  was proposed,  To everyone watching , it appeared  to be  prompted by the Mayor.

The Chief Financial Officer was brought  round from the opposite side of the table to huddle with the Mayor and  CAO, to  work out
details of whatever they had in mind. 

There was no clarity.

It was not an amendment.

It was undignified maneuvering,and  degrading capitulation to the  manipulators and noise-makers. 

By sleight of hand , without  due notice, the Able/Pirri  motion  was neutered before our very eyes . 

Since the 2011 budget, I have opposed continuing funding a non-accountable board to use a  town-owned facility and  public resources  for  purposes  not  endorsed by the community.

I have not  presented a resolution to terminate the agreement. I supported one.

The Mayor has a web site. A move to present things  in a more favourable light , would best be presented on his own web site.

I assume that's its reason for being.

As is the reason for this post  to present  the town's affairs  as I see them.

Without fear or favour.

Committee Members.? Not Yet

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "In Your Easter Bonnet":

10:47 PM
You missed the point clearly made in that article. The ACC was pitching their vision through the press. Mayor Dawe said nothing and his Council were not members of his so-called team. He may fancy himself to be a White Knight but he was not the only one elected to represent Aurora. Maybe he thinks he can just present some package to Council for them to blindly pass but he sure risks alienating them by not having Pirri and Abel on board. Did it occur to you that this too might have been done because the ACC refused to deal with the ones who knew them best?

Sometimes it seems points made  in posts are deliberately misconstrued.It becomes obvious if I clarify and  that too gets twisted to say what the commenter  prefers.

I understand, there have been a number of meetings with staff and  Mayor participating,

The Mayor  made a commitment, there will be progress or the termination clause will be activated.

The problem is different understanding of what represents  progress. .

Apparently terms of reference, as parameters  for discussion  are hoped  to be recommended to Council by the end of the month'

 Nothing more.

After Council  approval of terms of reference, committee members will be named .

How long that takes, remains to be seem approval. All  councillors have a right to attend wherever town business is being discussed.
One thing is obvious, there will be no resolution to  the problem to speak of by the end of March as committed by the Mayor and it seemed, expected by Councillors Humphrey's and Thompson.

When they put forward an amendment that wasn't an amendment but was put to a vote by the Mayor, and did in fact, neuter the original motion  of Abel and Pirri.

History Continues To Evolve

An anonymous comment in part:

"There should be schools for aspiring politicians, where they could go, to learn the basic rules of procedure, where they could participate in mock debate, where they could participate in creating a budget, and a whole host of other things so necessary to the political art, for art it surely must be; never science, never even rational."


"Politics is the art of the possible."
We do have schools .Our investment in education is huge.

Every Canadian child should aspireto be a leader in whatever field they choose.

Young people should be learning  in school to be proud Canadians. To value citizenship.To appreciate that they live in a country with a Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Instead, the  Province  made history an optional subject. Why would they do that?

The Town's annual award to two students from each high school is for excellence in the subject of  governance. Former Mayor Tim Jones' Council supported my resolution to specify the purpose of the award, probably in 2005.

Early in Ontario's history, education was the  responsibility of municipal councils. People elected to Council tended to be
"Leaders of Industry"  They had little  interest in providing the children of their employees with an education.

It wasn't unusual for them to send their own children "back home"
to boarding schools for their education.

That's what makes Aurora  different and Church Street School exceptional.

The Province took  responsibility for providing education  away from municipal councils and created Boards of Education.

Local Boards had to be elected. They had  authority to determine the budgets required, Municipalities had to collect the taxes and provide the funding required. 

Public Libraries were  part of the education system.Trustees were appointed by Boards of Education. The Mayor was the only
representative of Council.

Library Boards also had authority to requisition funds.. If the municipality balked, Library Boards had the right of appeal to the Minister of Education.

The Ontario Municipal Board was created during the depression.when some municipalities bankrupted themselves with debt. Municipal debt  used to have to be approved by  The Ontario Municipal Board . Capital construction  always had to be debenture financed.

When York Region was established in 1971, it was the first change in government structure in a hundred years.

I was the last Reeve of Aurora in the last York County Council of the century and proud to have had that opportunity..

Monday 19 March 2012

In Your Easter Bonnet

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Don't Fix Bayonets Yet":

Puzzle. Can someone please explain why when you drive along the St. John's Sideroad you see signage about the Marsh but the wooden fencing does not allow you even a glimpse of it? I had hoped to see the geese before facing the dentist

I wasn't on Council when the project was designed. I think it was anticipated  pedestrians would be using the board walk and watching for the birds.

I think the town contributed 2 million dollars for that and  safe passage for ducks  to move safely from one side of the marsh to the other.

I sometimes see people  with cameras looking  out over the marsh
but I don't  pass there very often. I have ssen blue herons rising slowly from the water and standing in the reeds but you do have to leave your car.

I think it would be a great place for an Easter Parade.

Double- Edged Sword

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Not so...Not so":

"authority to direct" does not equal "provide leadership and guidance"

What other candidates running for Mayor had the experience? Oh My God... NIGEL!!!!!

He was right all along.


Nigel had the opportunity to gain from experience.

Voters also  had opportunity to judge his performance in office.

Not so...Not so

"...lost any authority to direct his Council..." You know what, the Mayor's job has no authority to direct council. The Mayor is one person in the total council.


According to the Municipal Act, the Mayor's job  is "to provide leadership and guidance to Council."

This Mayor came handicapped .  "Leadership and guidance"  bespeaks experience.

He had no experience of  town  affairs.. He had no experience of being a Councillor.We all knew that. It now seems, he doesn't think he needed either.

He needs them  more than he realises.

Assuming re-election, the previous Mayor made a comfy nest for herself.. Prior to the election the  group  of six authorised transfer of authority from Council to  administration.

Staff recommended. It was stated the items were strictly administrative.

Which begged the question of why authority had always rested with Council.

The incoming Mayor, knowing no better, has apparently found the nest quite to his liking. He and the CAO have taken upon themselves to deal with town business without knowledge of or direction from council.

It has had the effect of separating the Mayor from Council.

Providing leadership and guidance to a group of politicians may not be as simple as first appears.

It requires the Mayor to be one of us.

There must be an element of trust and confidence. It doesn't happen naturally.

Politics is a competitive business.If it's a game, it's not an easy game.

Divine Providence plays no role.

I have a blanket philosophy guided to some extent by laziness. I trust everyone until they give me a reason not to. Then  quite simply, I withhold trust.

Among politicians trust is not a commodity. There is a particular intricacy.

The right and obligation to make independent judgment and vote accordingly cannot and should not be set aside, bought, sold or transferred for favours granted. 

First lesson is why, to prevent misunderstanding and feelings of betrayal,it is absolutely necessary to state one's position clearly and succinctly. Let no-one be caught off-guard.

There is no room in the fish bowl for jiggery-pokery. Water is clear.There is no place to hide.

This Council will continue to work together. Other issues will  demand and displace attention.

In the next election, some will judge on overall performance.

Others will remember the point at which confidence was lost.

New candidates will be on hand to jog people's memories.

There is no question the Mayor has suffered a set-back. He has time to recover. Everything now depends on whether anything has been learned. People will watch for signs.

Denying it happened won't make it go away.

In politics, nothing ever goes away.

Right now,only three Councillors are smiling; Gaertner, Gallo and Ballard.

No Vacuum

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Praise The Lord And Pass The Ammunition":

"...Tieing the blame to him might be comparable to blaming the worst of the Mormac events on a Councillor at the time who opposed them."

I think ALL coucillors during that time are to blame for what is now called MorMac. They did not operate in a vacuum.

That's like blaming the victim of rape, for the actions of the perpetrator.

It has been known to happen. Not in the least  uncommon.

Mormac did not operate in a vacuum.

They operated with a solid block of six consistent votes.

No matter what they did, the majority made it legal.

They even wrote their own code of conduct.

Hired and fired their own integrity commissioner.

Thank You

Dave Robinson has left a new comment on your post "Praise The Lord And Pass The Ammunition":

You have mentioned that the Toronto computer leasing scandal took place on "the watch" of David Miller. That would suggest it was during his term as Mayor. Surely the events of the scandal occurred when Mr. Lastman was Mayor and Tom Jacobek (he of the mysterious bank deposits) was his Budget Chief. Mr. Miller was a Councillor at the time and was a critic of what were alleged to be shady dealings. Tieing the blame to him might be comparable to blaming the worst of the Mormac events on a Councillor at the time who opposed them.
I did suggest that because I thought that was the correct chronology.

My apology.

The Bellamy Inquiry cost millions. As did the one last year in Missuassaga. What did it accomplish?

In the face of corruption of millions of tax dollars overspent in a computer deal. Where thousands changed hands in a parking garage.

Where sleaze openly abounded within Toronto city hall.

The Province produced permissive legislation to allow municipalities to adopt codes of conduct.

As if such aberrant behaviour among municipal councillors was likely rampant throughout and all it needed was a handbook to spell out for all the potential reprobates and dullards in municipal politics, the precise meaning of the word integrity.

Who did the city catch in the net then with their two hundred thousand dollar a year integrity commissioner?

Councilor Rob Ford of course. For drinking too much at a football game and swearing and blinding at whoever came into his view. And denying it afterwards.

For failing to claim any money from an expense allowance and thereby casting a shadow on fellow councillors who spent it all.

He was said to be a hard-working councillor who cared about his constituents. But that didn't count.

Turned out it did. And all the other stuff that must have been seen for what it was and discounted People voted for Ford.Now they don't choose to explain it.

Because it's nobody's business but theirs.

His ratings are still high.

These posts are not about Rob Ford.

They are about people and their marvelous ability to see through the crap to find the kernel that's real.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Nincompoopery":

Funny how I have not met ANYONE who will admit to voting for Ford???
t would be funny if I had since most of the people I know don't vote in Toronto.

But the point made takes us back to the reason why people post anonymously.

People who vote are jealous of their right to a secret ballot.

They do not relish the prospect of political arguments.

Religion falls into the same category.

It is personal. It is individual, It is private.

It carries the potential of losing friends, alienating neighbours, antagonising employers, offending business clients. It is generally capable of disrupting the peace.
Most people crave peace in their homes,their jobs,their businesses and all the other important places in their lives.

If you are a candidate and ask who they plan to vote for,they will likely bring the conversation to an abrupt end. If you ask for their vote,they will politely decline to respond.

If they eagerly agree,chances are they have no intention of voting. They just want to get you off the doorstep and back to the football game on television.

Yesterday,I noted that Mayor Rob Ford didn't walk in the Gay Pride Parade. He said he had things to do with his children.

I said I would not walk in the Gay Pride Parade if I were the Mayor.

Now I'm being asked if I am anti-gay.

From what I have seen of the Gay Pride Parade on television, I imagine no self-respecting gay person would join that parade.

I wouldn't walk in a heterosexual parade that put on such a display. Who thinks of doing that.

Is nothing private any more?

Are leather encased genitals,, bare asses, dog collars with spikes,and whips acceptable for public viewing.

Call me what you like, you wouldn't catch me dead in a parade like that.

I think Julian Fantino, when he was Toronto Police Cheif and David Miller. when he was Mayor,and whatever other political figure who walks in that parade does it, not for fellowship, they do it for votes.

I would not do that.

Don't Fix Bayonets Yet

Councillor Abel has drawn council's attention,to concern about a fee charged to register for something called e-play.

It will be brought up at Council and we will all know everything we didn't know we needed to know about the fee charged for registration for e-play.

I am not going to pretend to know anything about e-play.

I do know busy parents complained for years about having to line up with hundreds of others for hours to register their kids for recreation programs.

Sometimes to be informed the programs are full.

So on-line registration was something people were demanding.

Whether it can be done in house at no cost to registrants, I do not know.

Whether e-play is some other kind of a deal, I do not know.

I do know, it is obviously a subject that needs to be discussed at council so that we can all ask whatever question occurs to us and have the answers at the same time and give whatever direction needs to be given to staff or provide whatever information needs to be provided to the community.

In the meantime, hold your fire.

You Have To Be There To Understand

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Things Are Evolving As They Should":

"Former Mayor Tim Jones and I went to Cardinal Carter High School commencement in Woodbridge."

Why in the hell is C C having commencement in Woodbridge? That's almost as stupid of having a council meeting in King!

You wouldn't think so if you had been there. If you had been there you would have understood why.

Cardinal Crer is a district high school. I don't know how many Catholic HIgh schools there are in Richmond Hill and Vaughan. But a great many of the students graduating, judging y their names are of Italian descent.

The Italian community places great value on the accomplishments of their children.

I would even hazard a guess, that were it not for the Italian community, the provincial government might not have extended support to Catholic High schools.

But we are glad he did.

Cardinal Carter's High School commencement is a family affair. It is a celebration. Thousands were there.

When my grandchildren graduated from Sacred Heart High School in Newmarket, only two guests were allowed to attend. I missed that.

Sunday 18 March 2012

Lost Horizon

Anonymous wrote in part:

You are fascinated by Toronto politics. I find them boring beyond words. The latest proposal to help salvage something from the multi-billion dollar wreck that is Ontario Place is to equip it with a casino. That will certainly advance Toronto in the world, another casino.

My children and I enjoyed Ontario Place tremendously
when it was new and they were still small enough to enjoy the amazing playground. It was all free and beautiful.

Arhur Fiedler's concert and Sing along with Mitch, stretched out on the grass on a summer evening are great memories.

Kew Beach in the summer when we first arrived in Canada. I'm sure I've written about that. We didn't live there but we certainly enjoyed the neighbourhood in the summer.

Toronto Island. wooden boardwalks, sand roads and picket fence cottages.

The ferry.

Street cars for a quarter and a dime for kids.St Laurence Market.

I have great memories of living in Toronto as new Canadians.

I am only fascinated with the Mayoralty contest of the last election.Rob Ford was an unlikely candidate. Nobody has ever had more strikes against him. Yet he didn't just scrape in. He was a decisive winner.It was the voters of Toronto who made that happen.

Last week someone referred me to a Toronto Star story about all the times he has voted in a conflict.

The Toronto Star is so leaden with hostility against Ford, the weight of it, would be enough to sink the Titanic.

Once again, everybody thinks because of Clayton Ruby, who i known to go for the jugular,he will be able to do what the Toronto Star,the entire Liberal organisation, a few hundred other associations and a host of columnists and unions failed to accomplish.

I am always fascinated by the way major media discount the role of the people who cast votes in any election of significance.

Until after the votes are counted.

Then they profess amazement.

I think mega cities like Toronto are impossible to

It was an already recognised fact in the sixties when the M.T.A.R.T.S. study was done by the Honorable John Robarts, Government of Ontario.

It was intended to prevent Toronto from becoming a mega city and ungovernable. It was welcomed and approved by everyone who was in the Queen Elizabeth building for it's presentation.

Politicians from Port Hope and Coburg in the east and Niagara in the west and rising in a horseshoe to Barrie in the north were there. A green belt was planned between the city and York Region.Transit and hard services were to be installed along the lake front to service urban development.

York Region's future role was to be breathing space, agriculture and recreation. We loved it.

Regions encircling Toronto were created in a rush and the good stuff vanished like a mirage.

I remember the days when provincial cabinet ministers came out and discussed things with their municipal partners. That's what they called us. Darcy McKeough said; "We make the decision, then we work to make sure it's the right decision"

It wasn't the right decision. It was flawed from the beginning. The players kept changing.The vision was lost. No-one is in control at the region.The provincial civil service at Queen's Park is a pale facsimile of its predeccessor.

I think a sewage treatment plant at Lake Simcoe is being planned to service urban development from one lake to another.

Praise The Lord And Pass The Ammunition

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Nincompoopery":

I don't know why or how you continue to be in love with Ford.He was possibly the better of two bad choices.The Toronto press had a great love-in for him and Ford-nation.Such clap-trap.

He shoots off from his mouth without the semblance of a thought travelling through his mind.What has he actually accomplished for Toronto in the past 15 months?His fawning acolytes are deserting in droves, the press is out for his hide, and lots there is.

Do you still swoon for him?

The media these days are comprised of knuckleheads totally unqualified to perform the jobs for which they are hired.

And now the former Harper chief-of-staff, Ian Brodie, 2006 - 2008, refers to the robo-call scandal as on a scale he's never seen before and warrants a "huge investigation."

Politics has always been a dirty game. We are fortunate to have had as a part of our recent history the man with the obsession, Pierre Elliot Trudeau. You got this one right.

But spare the praise for the third rate mediocrity that comprises the majority of elected officials


I publish the comment to indicate a shallow  grasp of my comments on Toronto's mayoralty politics.  Which continue to fascinate me.

Obviously I am not a Toronto voter. Clearly I do not  discern good or bad  between  city policies.  I 'm not even sure how the city council functions.

Last week I  used the term alderman. Somebody pointed out it hadn't been used for years.This is just a conversation going on here.

 Thanks for engaging, by the way. 

I pick up bits and pieces  of headlines. I have a  scant understanding of Rob Ford's reputation. I think anybody who  pays the slightest attention must know as much.

What I am talking about here is the reality of politics. Not the theory. Not the propaganda.Not the stuff people toss about who know naught of what they speak. 

 It's about how people respond to the deluge of impressions during an election campaign. Their amazing capacity to see through the   swirling fog deliberately created by many forces in motion  jockeying to promote their  powerful separate and selfish  interests.  

Rob Ford is real.

Unlike David Miller,private school graduate and  lawyer pretending to be one of the people.

On whose watch, the multi-million dollar computer scandal took place but no finger of blame ever attached. Spending thirteen million tax dollars on the Bellamy Commission of Public Inquiry, took him nicely off the hook.

Who expressed  regret  that  Candidate Adam Giambrone was obliged to retire from the  Mayoralty race because of lies and other conduct unbecoming.

Rob Ford is  what  he appears to be. There is no artifice. He is nobody's image of  an erudite, intelligent, well-educated, lovable  and charming rascal.

Toronto voters had a choice of  candidates. I saw no signs of  a love-in for Ford. Quite the opposite. I saw a red faced, perspiring candidate deal with the collective pig-sticking that went on  around and directed straight at him.

Did he march in the Gay Pride Parade. No, he did not. And neither would I.

The Toronto Star went abroad to dig up dirt. In Florida, years ago, he was stopped for a traffic offence. In a search a doobie was found in his pocket.He wasn't dealing it. He wasn't smoking it. He wasn't charged with possession.

But Oh My Lord, there went that bad lad Ford again.

Any student of politics would turn their attention to the question of what his election said about the people of Toronto.

What  did  they see in him, they didn't see in  other candidates.  Especially, George Smitherman the only other real contender?

I think, since the election, they  have seen a man  humbled by having been chosen  to be Mayor of a very important city,doing the best he  knows how, to live up to that honour and trust.

I believe ordinary people in  Toronto identify with Rob Ford. They are rooting for him to succeed.  They will give him a fair chance.

In spite of, or maybe because of, the sophisticates who long ago decided  he was  not good enough. A man like that can't possibly be good enough to be the Mayor of Toronto.

Just who is it that is good enough?

Who are the  "third rate mediocrity that comprise the majority of elected officials " in the "dirty game of politics"

Well bless your heart, they are people just like yourself, doing the best they can, in a tricky enterprise that nothing  prepares you for until you dive in, fully clothed, head first, sink or swim.

I will certainly spare the praise. I know better than to urge  anybody else how to come to  my judgement  I need my resources to account for my own decisions.

Georgina Residents Need To Take Hold

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Things Are Evolving As They Should":

Georgina Council had ' almost ' decided to allow Rogers in when they experienced a tempest in their teapot. Were joking about wearing sparkles in their hair. No more jokes and Rogers is likely on hold.


Televised Council meetings should be  a declared issue in the next election campaign.

We are talking of "streaming" all meetings in the Council Chamber.

Mind you, we speak of it but nothing comes of it.

I must speak of it again .


Last night a headline on  the screen of  a twenty-four-seven news channels  read:

New polls indicate Mayor Rob Ford continues to enjoy high ratings
for his performance but not enough to win an election.

We  assume the person who wrote that has a degree or a certificate of some sort . It's the week-end so  they may not have permanent full-time employee status. Still they are employed to write material germaine to particular expertise.

The statement would have subliminal  influence.

So what does it say?

 If there was an election today, despite  high ratings ,Mayor Ford would lose.

Where's the logic?

If Mayor Ford was unchallenged in the election, would he  lose?

If  six candidates competed for the job , would the Mayor be certain  to lose?

May we assume  platforms offered by  other candidates be bound to trump the policies that give high ratings to Mayor Ford ?

If the main challenger in the race was a  prominent Liberal politicians, backed by deep Liberal pockets, nationally and provincially. in Tory Blue Toronto, would Mayor Ford lose  in exactly the circumstances  that delivered victory in the previous election?

The  last  question coming to mind; is  how can  the media employ a person to write political commentary with  intent to  influence people, who clearly knows nothing whatsoever about Toronto's municipal  politics?

Or any politics at all ?

Many, many factors, including the individual judgement of several million voters in Toronto will decide two and a half years from now
whether or not Mayor Rob Ford will be re-elected to his office in 2014.

Not the least will be quality, credibility and status of  a single candidate who seeks to challenge and force him from office.

Rob Ford is doing what he said he would. From this distance, he rises to the dignity of the Mayor's office.

He can have disappointed no-one. Not the people who voted for him or those  who  voted against him. Or the public sector unions.

Whatever else Rob Ford is and continues to be, true to himself.

People like that in a candidate.

Things Are Evolving As They Should

I've probably told this before.  At risk of being accused of repeating,  which will happen anyway, I'm going to tell it again. It's  less work that going back through four years and eight months of blogs to determine if I said it already

If I  said it  and don't remember, chances are you don't remember  either. So...it bears repeating.

When I returned  as a candidate in 2003, it was partly in response to being urged  to do so, despite great odds.  In  part, it was because of a serious concern at  the level of  gratuitous hostility directed towards veteran Aurora councillors  by the  latecomers.The disrespect and animosity was palpable.

I saw it as corrosive.  One way or another, it needed to be rooted out before it could take  hold.

It got worse before it got better.  Took longer to dal with than  expected. Vestiges still remain.Another election should take care of it.

The CAO , in the beginning, had been the clerk and before that deputy-clerk.The town's institutional history was in relatively good hands.

It was early n the term when I  spoke privately to the CAO about his obligation to keep Council functioning within the law. .

The vehemence of his response took me by surprise.

"It is not my job to ensure council  abides by the law" he said. "It's my job to inform them.. I can't make them abide by the law"

I had to come late to terms with a circumstance opposite to what I had always understood.

It had  always simply been the practice in previous Councils, if the clerk advised a particular action being contemplated was against the law, no further argument would ensue

You   can't have a legislative body disrespecting the law

.How could any  Council not understand that glaring contradiction?  

I  served under four Mayors. I had been Mayor for four years. I  never knew a time when Council did not respect the requirement to abide by the law.

The understanding was  rooted in the practice.

We had  riotous arguments. No shortage of robust debate.
We went at each other hammer and tongs with few holds barred.

But we observed the rules. We  respected our office, the dignity of Council and the community we served.

We never spoke of  righteous ethics or prayerful conduct.

Council's integrity was never challenged from within.

Our collective intelligence was frequently under fire. 

 But in the function  of  decision-making, Council was not degraded.

Aurora politics has an image for vigorous,hard fought,disagreement and steady commentary from  sidelines in Letters to the Editor.

Some things do not change. Nor should they. Honourable traditions deserve to have a place of honour.

I met a woman in Newmarket last week who felt sure we were acquainted
A Holland Landing resident, she  persisted, I must be a member of Holland Landing's  Senior Club.

Finally, I said  I was from Aurora. Immediately she knew my name and wherefrom she knew me. Our Council  meetings are a must watch on Cable in her house.

"It's  a good Council" she said ." I enjoy watching "

She was glad to have the  opportunity  to say so. For a mini-second  I thought it might  have  a wee thing to do with our common  accent

Holland Landing is in East Gwillimbury.  Newmarket is between us.
Georgina Council  may also be  available to Holland Landing

It happened once before,  Former Mayor Tim Jones and I went to  Cardinal Carter High School commencement in Woodbridge.

On leaving, we were stopped by a resident from Oak Ridges, who wanted to tell us how much he enjoyed watching Aurora Council.
Oak Ridges comes under the jurisdiction of Richmond Hill.  He was Italian.

In summary, it seems residents, who are not stakeholders in our affairs and can therefore be impartial, have a good impression of how  we conduct our town business.

Aurora stakeholders, for the same reason, are better able to discern various positions, logic and lack thereof and personal jabs. They can recognize , strength  and weakness, sly calculation, clumsy manipulation and various other acts of chicanery because it's all there  to see. Even what is not  is conspicuous by its absence. 

Viewers  are  pleased, angered, disappointed and disturbed. They are not indifferent.  They can and do  experience  and convey all the ups and downs of  their reactions.

We are an engaged community.

I think that's a good thing.